Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Holy Wisdom--Created or Uncreated?

Wisdom, as an attribute of God, is holy and eternal. And as I have discussed before, Wisdom as a spirit is the feminine aspect of the Second Person of the Trinity and is thus divine. (She is integral to each member of the Trinity.) Jesus is both the Word Incarnate and Wisdom Incarnate. But what of St. Augustine's idea that there is also a created Wisdom? This idea is intriguing, as it lends itself to the notion of an eternal spirit who is feminine only in nature. And the Bible does use the word "created" at times in reference to Wisdom. But having two Sophias seems too theologically complicated, and there is another possible explanation for Wisdom's close association to the natural world.

I have previously discussed that the word created can denote something of a birthing process, such as a work of art that is brought forth by divine inspiration. Also, some early Church fathers felt that "created" used in reference to Wisdom could not be meant in the strict sense of the word, because that would contradict references to Wisdom as divine and begotten by God. I think that what we have here, in keeping with the manifold nature of Sophia, is a feminine emanation of the Spirit of God. As I continue to maintain, Wisdom, the feminine aspect of God, is part and parcel of the Trinity, not a fourth person.

Remembering my triquetra symbol of the feminine aspect of God being at the heart of the Trinity, where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit intersect, we can imagine the masculine aspect flowing into the center. The feminine aspect receives the masculine, then reflects God's power outward, into creation. It is the Virgin Spirit Sophia, divine emanation of the Holy Spirit, who is the aspect of God that dwells in creation, permeating all things. She is the Spirit of Earth, if you will, the World Soul. Mary is so strongly associated with Wisdom, because Wisdom is the link between God and creation, and Mary is the link between God and humanity. And in Mary dwells this same Sophia. (There is one aspect of Wisdom that one might say is created, which is to be found in the humanity of Jesus. The human nature of Jesus could be considered as created Wisdom. Yet Jesus' human and divine natures cannot be separated.)

 Emerson's World-Soul, by Frederic Edwin Church, El Rio de Luz (1877)

In our Catholic tradition we refer to Mary as Mother. She, our spiritual Mother in heaven, is human like us. We do not want to lose this profound existential truth by confusing her with God's maternal aspect. In Mary we want our focus to be on the mystery of the Incarnation. Mary is typically the one we call Mother in our religious devotion, so that we do not lose our minds trying to understand Jesus as having two mothers (not unlike trying to imagine two Wisdoms). Yet we can come to know God as Mother, Imma, by meditating on God's Wisdom, and through Mary experience God's motherly love.

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